07/05/2006 11:00PM

Don't dismiss 'Confucius'


Five horses with six-figure earnings on turf showed up in the entries for the relatively small purse of $60,000 up for grabs in Saturday's one-mile Da Hoss Stakes at Colonial Downs. But it's an 8-year-old gelding who is winless on grass and hasn't even competed on the surface in five years who is the most intriguing entrant.

Confucius Say, back in action after nearly four years on the sidelines, will make the third start of his comeback and a rare appearance on turf in the Da Hoss.

All 13 of Confucius Say's wins and all but $28,382 of his $555,497 bankroll has been earned on the dirt. He is best known as a two-time winner of the West Virginia Breeders Classic at Charles Town.

Buried deep in Confucius Say's past performances, however, is a line that indicates he fits well in this spot. As a 3-year-old, he opened up a 1 1/2-length lead in the Virginia Derby on turf before weakening late in the 1 1/4-mile race and finishing third. His Beyer Speed Figure of 90 for that effort puts him squarely in the midst of the other contenders in the eight-horse Da Hoss field.

The two most accomplished turf runners are the 5-year-old Wire Bound, who is 6 for 14 with $263,090 in earnings on grass, and the 6-year-old Battle Chant, who has a bankroll of $230,444 from 24 turf starts.

Wire Bound, winner of the $100,000 Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup in February 2005 and an overnight stakes at Calder last November, will be making only his second start of 2006 and his first since January.

Battle Chant, from the high-percentage barn of Graham Motion, won the $150,000 John Schapiro Memorial BC at Laurel last fall. He will be making the third start of his form cycle after just missing in a nine-furlong optional claimer last time out at Delaware Park.

Also dangerous are Running Tide, who won last year's Da Hoss at 6-1, and Bestowed, a Michael Dickinson-trained 4-year-old who has been no worse than third in 5 of 6 lifetime starts on grass.

Delaware: Lake takes three shots

A three-horse, uncoupled entry gives trainer Scott Lake an excellent chance in the $50,000 Mo Bay Stakes at Delaware Park.

The five-furlong turf race drew 14 older runners, but only eight will be permitted to start because the rails will be set out 25 feet.

Lake will saddle Pisgah, the beaten odds-on favorite in the $100,000 Turf Monster at Philadelphia Park; Southern Missile, narrowly beaten as the 8-5 favorite two starts ago in the Baltimore BC at Pimlico; and Explosive Count, good insurance if the race is switched to the main track as the winner of four straight dirt sprints.

Two other strong contenders are Weigelia, who registered a career-best turf Beyer Figure of 103 winning a sprint at Belmont last time out, and Max West, a turf sprint specialist who won the Turf Monster by 1 3/4 lengths two starts ago.

Philadelphia: Call Me Wild on a roll

Call Me Wild will go for his fourth straight victory against six other Pennsylvania-bred 3-year-olds in the seven-furlong Peppy Addy Stakes at Philadelphia Park.

Claimed for $20,000 out of a maiden race in February, Call Me Wild has since won 4 of 5 starts for high-percentage trainer Robert Reid. His only poor effort in that span came over a sloppy track.

Although he raced up close to the pace in his previous two wins at Philly Park, Call Me Wild came from 11 lengths back to get up by three-quarters of a length last time out in the restricted Danzig Stakes at Penn National.

His chief competition will come from Power by Leigh, the Danzig runner-up. Power by Leigh needed four starts to win his maiden, but since then has steadily improved his Beyers in each of his three races against winners.

Charles Town: Cherokee's Boy tough

Cherokee's Boy returns to one of his favorite tracks and cuts back to seven furlongs for the $75,000 Crying for More Stakes at Charles Town.

A winner of 13 races and slightly more than $1 million, the 6-year-old Cherokee's Boy is 8 for 11 at Charles Town. In his last two appearances there, Cherokee's Boy matched his career-best Beyers with a pair of 108's. He takes a distinct class drop after finishing last in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile at Monmouth.

P. Kerney, who scratched out of a pair of stakes last weekend, is a threat to lead wire to wire and is ideally drawn on the rail. He won the seven-furlong Northern Wolf at Laurel in March.

As usual, trainer Scott Lake has a contender. Lake, who has won six stakes already at Charles Town this season, has the sharp sprinter Morine's Victory. He earned a career-best 107 Beyer two starts ago winning the six-furlong Waterford Park Handicap at Mountaineer and tuned up for this start with a solid second-place finish in a money allowance at Charles Town on June 30.